Saxon Davidson Discussing IPA Worker Shortage Research On Seven News Port Macquarie – 14 September 2023

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14 September 2023
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The Institute of Public Affairs’ Saxon Davidson joined Claire Simmonds on Seven News Port Macquarie to discuss the unprecedented nationwide worker shortage and how it is affecting regional communities the most.

All media appearances posted onto the IPA website are directly related to the promotion and dissemination of IPA research.

Below is a transcript of the interview.


Channel 7 Presenter:

Regional Australia is bearing the brunt of a nationwide worker shortage. Researchers say making it easier for retirees and students to work more hours could make a big difference and the North Coast may be able to benefit. Claire Simmonds joins us live now from Coffs Harbour. And Claire, could the big numbers of retirees and students on the North Coast make the region ripe for this tax reform?

Claire Simmonds:

Maddie, there are almost 164,000 working age people not in the labor force on the North Coast. Plenty of local employers are so eager for skilled workers that even part-time availability would make a difference. This smash repair business needs more truck drivers, panel beaters, and other skilled workers. They are willing to be flexible.

Small Business Owner:

Well, any qualified tradesmen in painting or panel beating or coach making, as they call it, anyone can call. You can always use someone, even if it’s twice a week.

Claire Simmonds:

Skill shortages are biting hard in other workplaces, too.

Small Business Owner:

We can’t find any good techs around here at the moment, certainly since the bypass started, so the last three or four months.

Claire Simmonds:

New research by right-wing think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, compared 4,000 North Coast vacancies to jobless numbers.

Saxon Davidson:

The New South Wales North Coast has about 160,000 working age people who are not in the labor force.

Claire Simmonds:

They identify the region’s high number of retirees as an untapped labor force.

Saxon Davidson:

An Australian pensioner or veteran faces an effective marginal tax rate of about 69%, should they choose to work. Now, this is due to lost benefits once they earn about $226 per week.

Claire Simmonds:

And claim similar tax reform could also encourage 60% of Australian students to get part-time work. Holding onto apprentices and entry-level workers remains a challenge.

Small Business Owner:

And they say these incentives through the government and that type of thing. I think some of them just need a good kick up the bum to get out and work.

Claire Simmonds:

The construction trade shortages continue to drive up building costs.

Business Owner:

Well, usually, we find that the good fellows are charging really premium rates and it is making it hard to offer a competitive price for our clients.

Claire Simmonds:

Claire Simmonds, Seven News.

This transcript with Saxon Davidson talking on Seven News Port Macquarie from 14 September 2023 has been edited for clarity.

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